My life is not up for debate, so why are we making it one?


My life is not up for debate. Or, rather, it shouldn’t be. 

The increasingly polarized world of politics was not prepared for 2020. However politics, like the virus whose validity they question, have permeated into every section of humanity. They’ve destroyed and ravaged every non-political topic and person until the very matter of whether life is more important than an agenda came into question. A piece of fabric is not political; a person’s right to exist is not political; the privacy of a person’s opinions is not political –– so stop making them political. 

The issue of masks made its way into the political stream after President Donald Trump outwardly refused to wear one and questioned their legitimacy. Sure, while the Centers for Disease Control originally stated that masks offered little to no protection to those wearing them, they later published findings that showed that masks protect others from the person wearing them, creating a sort of herd immunity. The notion is so simple to prove that average people can complete their own tests at home with a mask, a petri dish and a cough. 

However, Trump mocked his opponent, Joe Biden, for wearing a mask, despite it being a recommended preventative measure. He took a firm partisan stance against people wearing masks, which led to massive protests against them. Some people even brought signs that read “My body, my choice,” using a traditionally liberal phrase to represent a conservatice standpoint, contradicting the fact that masks are used for literally every other body but theirs. Masks, along with the simplest level of human decency, were turned into a political debate.

The question of whether or not a person deserves to live doesn’t stop at science, though. The Black Lives Matter movement –– and the idea that it even needs to exist –– is a perfect representation for needless politicization. The simple request to not be senselessly killed forced droves of people into the streets to protest. This urged people to reconsider the legitimacy of our police systems, which then forced other people to turn defunding the police into political propaganda. 

The notion that a person’s desire to live in peace had to turn into a massive political issue is absurd. Imagine thinking that the most basic of basic human rights needed to be manipulated for a political agenda. Don’t murder people for any reason: Why is that up for debate?

And the fact that it is up for debate is making social media a warzone, where people are ostracized for not taking a political stance. Celebrities and influencers and regular people alike are being turned into either figureheads or public enemies; there’s no in between. If you don’t publicly stand for the popular social justice issue of the day, you’re publicly standing against it, and it doesn’t make sense. Before social media, people didn’t walk around with banners over their heads explaining every humanitarian viewpoint they possessed. It was just generally accepted that the make of person didn’t rely entirely on their political beliefs.
And that’s not to say that political outspokenness didn’t exist before social media, but the lack of any determinate standpoint didn’t previously end careers or turn people into pariahs. Since when did omission become absolutism? Isn’t bullying people into becoming submissive sheep more damaging than beneficial? If everyone feels pressured to stand for the same thing, no one will stand for anything. 

Politics have always made the world go round, but the world does not exist for politics. You are not morally superior for ignoring science, human rights or free speech. Neither “side” is innocent in this war, and it’ll last forever until we put aside our incessant need to be right, open our minds to empathize with others and just agree that our lives are non-negotiable.